Indians blank Warriors, win their third Classic title

With a shutout performance on the mound from Greg Lucas, the St. Stephens baseball team captured its third Easter Baseball Classic title on Wednesday.

The Indians (9-4) blanked West Caldwell, 4-0, to win their first Classic title since 2009 and third in the past 11 years (2002). 

Lucas, the tournament’s MVP, struck out six batters and allowed four hits, one walk and no earned runs in seven innings.

“I just came in focused,” Lucas said. “I threw the ball across the plate. I just did my job and did it well.”

Fisher Davis and Konner Klingenberg gave St. Stephens a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Davis' double scored Ky'rawn Whitfield, while Klingenberg singled to plate Davis.

A pair of RBI singles by J.C. Moebius in the bottom of the third and fifth innings helped pad the Indians lead for good.

"We were talking about this being day three in the tournament," said Indians coach Chip Watts. "(St. Stephens and West Caldwell) played in two late games last night. We knew the team that came out and had a hot start had a pretty good chance to win. Our bats came out early."

While the Saint offense continued to crank, Lucas shut down the Warriors at the plate. He allowed just four hits in Wednesday's title game, two of which came off of the bat of West Caldwell second baseman Nick Philyaw.

West Caldwell pitcher Brandon Crisp took the loss, allowing 10 hits, four earned runs, two walks and striking out three in his six innings on the mound.

The Warriors (9-5), who finished third in last year's Easter tournament, were going for their first-ever Classic championship.

Watts said Wednesday's title win gives his team momentum heading into the rest of the year.

"This should ignite us on the back side of the season just because the effort our kids have been giving," he said. "It's tough to play three days in a row with the mental and physical grind. I'm just proud of our kid's focus. That focus led us to a championship."

Third-place game: No. 3 Hickory 13, No. 8 Newton-Conover 5

Third baseman Zach Jarrett nearly hit for the cycle, helping the Red Tornadoes (9-5) win third place in the Easter Classic.

Six batters for Newton-Conover (2-12) recorded two hits each, including Gunner Baldwin with a single and a triple.

Hickory's Bryson Stirewalt picked up the win on the mound, while Newton-Conover pitcher Alex Mentzer suffered the loss.